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Living your life for a Purpose. What's yours?

January 29, 2013

Do you ever sit back and wonder how things would have been if you were someone else? Or where you would be in your life today if certain situations in your life had never happened? Well, that is the line of thought I was having on Thursday when I had the great honor of meeting a young lady who made me change my perspective of this life we live.  She is a young woman, in her late twenties but when she narrates her story to you, you will be forgiven for thinking she’s lived for a century.   

I need to share a few things with you about this woman to help you understand where my message today is stemming from. She hails from Kagera and was born in a humble background in a family of seven. She is the only girl in their family and as a result her father thought she would be better off living with his brother and his wife here in Dar Es Salaam, where she would supposedly be exposed to more opportunities. What he did not know is that his decision to send her to Dar Es Salaam was bound to scar her life permanently, literally.

Her father’s brother, her uncle, is married to a woman who hated her on sight and as a result, she made her life a living hell. From beating her, to letting her sleep hungry, to not allowing her to shower, at times beating her senseless; name it, this young lady went through it all. She could not take this treatment any more and so she attempted to commit suicide twice, both attempts failing.  The last straw was when that evil aunt of hers went to school and gave a story to the teachers that portrayed the young girl as a very undisciplined girl who was unruly and always causing havoc at home. This made the teachers decide to use the cane on her and for several hours, the teachers beat her, not knowing that she already had other injuries inflicted on her by her aunt.  
 
Anyway, to cut a long story short, this was the last straw for her and so she decided to run away from Dar Es Salaam and after struggling and escaping rape, she finally managed to find her way back to Kagera. Her arrival at Kagera was timely because as soon as she got there, she fell seriously sick as a result of all the beating and suffering she had gone through while she was in Dar. An aunt of hers who had just jetted back into the country offered to take her to hospital where she stayed for six months bed-ridden. Besides the emotional anguish she has had to go through, this woman also has a weak back, which has left her nearly disabled. She is permanently under medication and has to go to hospital every so often in order to manage the numerous health conditions she developed when she was suffering.
 
This lady now holds a degree in sociology, something she decided to do in order to give her a stepping stone towards setting up a haven of peace for other girls going through the same kind of hardships she went through when she was growing up. She was lucky to get a scholarship and the money she got, half of it she would use it on other under-privileged girls. By the time she was graduating, she was supporting seven girls. Today she has a family of her own, married to a man who clearly adores and understands (every woman’s dream and wish) her. Though she has two children of her own, she lives with seven other girls and supports twenty-four others. 
 
As a result of her harrowing experience in the hands of her “relatives” she vowed that one day if God helped her get out of that life, she would dedicate her life to creating a safe haven for others like her. She has lived up to her promise to God and today she has a legally registered NGO that helps her source for help on behalf of the girls. She has managed to save the lives of many girls who like her, had resulted to thinking suicide was the only way out. She still has some girls who are going to school and others to college, so obviously she needs support in this among other things. However, this is not the reason for writing this article. 
 
When I asked her whether she thinks she would have ended up doing what she was doing today if she hadn’t gone through the experiences she went through, her answer was an emphatic “NO”. She is one of the few people who never let her experiences in life go to waste. I learnt very many lessons from this young girl, a few of which I would now like to share with you.
 
Today, this woman supports at least thirty-one girls, all of whom had given up on life. What if she had managed to successfully commit suicide, would these girls have gotten a place of solace and a person who genuinely loves and takes care of them the way she does? Whatever answer you give to this question is debatable, but what I am trying to say, like I did say in the last two articles is that every one of us has a purpose to fulfill in this lifetime.  What's yours?
 
Secondly, you are not only doing those who are meant to depend on your purpose an injustice, but you are doing yourself more harm than good because unless you do what you were meant to do, you will never know fulfillment. Something will always be lacking in your life and you will never be really happy and content until you do what you were meant to do. Remember, that one sperm that conceived you did not beat all the other millions of sperms for nothing. There had to be a reason for you to be conceived and live up to this time.
 
Thirdly, when she made that vow to ensure that no other suffering girl she ever meets will suffer again, it was because she had lived that experience herself and made that decision to not let that experience go to waste. She can now spot a hurting woman from miles away because she knows what to look for.  Just as a by the way, just because you see a woman laughing and smiling does not mean she is happy; women have been created in a way to mask their feelings of pain and unhappiness through smiles and laughs. She being a woman who has gone through hell, danced with the devil and managed to get out of there alive, she is now able to identify other hurting women. 
 
Remember, we all have a choice in life to look at the things we go through either in a negative or positive way. If she had not gone through this horrific experience, she would probably have ended up being something else other than the founder of a safe haven for hurting women.  My question to you is, what are you doing with the experiences you have accumulated in your life, be they good or bad? Are you letting them go to waste like water from a leaking pipe, or are you using them to make someone else’s life better? It doesn’t matter whether the experiences in question are in your personal life, or your professional life. An experience is an experience and unless it gives you a lesson, then you are just wasting it. I guess I now understand why someone said “experience is the best teacher”.
 
In my last article I mentioned that when you live your life for someone else, your life becomes more fulfilling and has a greater meaning than when all you do is live for yourself. If you do recall, I mentioned in this story that this lady started supporting helpless and suffering women while she was still in university. She used to share her school money with these girls and yet she was not even working anywhere. When I asked her how that felt, her answer was simply, “Fulfilling”. Sometimes after she gave out her money to those girls she would be left with nothing for herself but that did not matter to her as long as they were happy. Now that is a selfless sacrifice.
 
If I may ask you, when was the last time you supported someone else other than your family members? Would you be willing to sacrifice a portion of your salary to pay school fees or buy food or clothing, or pay rent for someone you probably do not know, without having any ulterior motives for that person? The world we are living in today has been configured to operate under the rule “scratch my back I scratch yours”. Very few people are willing to do something for someone without expecting any returns. I encourage you to be among those few.
 
Last but not least, it would be unfair of me not to mention the man who married this woman. He was fully aware of all her complications but he still went ahead and married her. He understood her desire to help hurting girls to the extent that he even allowed her to live with some of them in the two-roomed house they were living in, as squeezed as it was. Imagine eleven (11) people living in a two-roomed house. That was another show of sacrifice for the woman he loved. I wonder how many men would agree to something like this, leave alone marry a woman with numerous complications like she did and still does. I salute this man and hope he will be a mentor to many young men in this age.  In my opinion, God, through her husband has given her back all the love she lacked while she was growing up and more. What more can a woman ask for?
 
In conclusion I have this to say; no matter what your past is, your future is bound to be greater but only if you identify what your purpose in this present life is. In the meantime as you seek to find out what your purpose in life is, let your temporary purpose be to put a smile on someone else’s face. You could be saving their life by so doing. 
 
 
If you have been touched and would like to get in touch with this lady to support her organization, contact me and I will link you up with this lady.
 
Have a smile-filled week. 
 
PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 27th of January, 2013, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"

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Once again you've read my mind.Thank you for sharing because i'm soo encouraged. i don't know yet what my purpose in life is but i know that God will reveal it in good time. Indeed i believe that my future is greater than my past and recently i learnt sadly after the demise of my Dad that i had earned his respect after so many years of heartache.I was greatly humbled. Now you have just confrmed by sharing this.

I can only say thank you.You are blessed and you have been placed here for such a time as this.To be a beacon of hope to the faint-hearted and for those who have been looking for direction, acompass to lokk up to and to have the courage to start all over again.All in the name of finding our purpose in life.Be blessed my dear.

Regards,
Ciiru

The point could not have been more clearly expressed; find your purpose and fulfill your destiny! I do however want to emphasize on the part of doing it without expecting "remuneration". As you said, in this day and age, the slogan of choice is "scratch mine I scratch yours". So when you set out to do a good deed, people around you are asking "what's the catch?". They can't believe that you can do it just cause you want! You get labels like "goody two shoes", "Mr. Philanthropic". So when you set out to do good do it using the slogan "do it as you would for Jesus!" This is the key to fulfillment and blessings.

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